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A shot in the arm for children’s health

I have always disliked getting a shot at the doctor’s office.

Some of my most profound childhood memories are of trips to the pediatrician before school started in the fall.

Despite dreading the trip to the doctor’s office, I still know that the best answers to questions about our children’s health come from pediatricians.

We welcomed a big boost this week for protecting children’s health from toxic chemicals when the American Academy of Pediatricians formally endorsed the Safe Chemicals Act, saying that “(o)ur current federal chemical management policy falls short for children.” 

The AAP’s 2011 policy statement on chemical policy reform made recommendations for chemical safety that have been embraced in the Safe Chemicals Act, reintroduced last week by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and 27 cosponsors.

In announcing their support for the Safe Chemicals Act, AAP President-Elect James Perrin, MD, FAAP, said, “As they grow and develop, children are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of chemicals in the environment. Pediatricians commend Senators Lautenberg and Gillibrand for introducing the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, which puts children’s health first and foremost by making needed improvements to current law.”  

Endorsement by the nation’s largest organization of children’s healthcare providers comes at a key moment. Senator David Vitter and the chemical lobby are preparing a bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act that they claim will be more “workable.” As Andy Igrejas wrote earlier this month, unlike the Lautenberg-Gillibrand bill, we don’t expect the industry’s prescription to be more than a roadblock in the way of real reform that protects our children’s health.

So the question still stands, which bill will your Senators stand by? The Safe Chemicals Act, which is endorsed by the country’s leading pediatricians, or Senator Vitter’s upcoming bill, for which he has only consulted companies like Exxon and Dow Chemical?

The American Academy of Pediatricians’ endorsement of the Safe Chemicals Act is one shot in the arm that even I can welcome.

Tell your Senators you support the pediatrician endorsed Safe Chemicals Act here!